Monday, January 11, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading 1.11.16

IMWAYR 2015 logo

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

Last Week's Adventures

My #mustreadin2016 list and plan is set.  How about yours?

This is one of the best nonfiction books as far as voice goes.  How Do You Burp in Space is a great nonfiction picture book to check out!

I really enjoyed Dan Gemeinhart's new book Some Kind of Courage.  Check out my review.

It's a presidential election year.  Here are two new books to use with young kids!

Transitional Chapter Books

Anna, Banana and the Monkey in the Middle by Anika Mrose Rissi
4/5 stars
I'm already a big fan of this series, but this one is my favorite so far.  I love books that have plot lines about very real things.  In this one, our main character, Anna, is feeling like monkey in the middle between her two best friends.  Until recently, she only had one best friend.  Add the third friend in the mix and things always get interesting.  
This series is a wonderful one for kids in 1st-4th grade.  Because of the realistic plot lines, kids can really relate.  I love Meg Park's illustrations as well!

Middle Grade

When Mischief Came to Town by Katrina Nannestad
4/5 stars
I really enjoyed this tale, especially the main character, Inge Maria.  
We meet Inge Maria as she is transitioning to a new part of her life.  She has recently lost her mother and is going to live with her never-before-met grandmother.  Grandmother and the other people in her town seem to be kind of like old, fuddy-duddies, and Inge Maria is an accident waiting to happen!  Frequently I laughed out loud as Inge Maria got into trouble.  Mischief seems to always find her, and the outcomes are often hilarious.
I think this book works better as a read aloud.  I'm not sure if this book was translated, the author is from Australia, but it takes place outside of Copenhagen.  The Danish names and places will be tricky for some kids.  Other times the sentence structure is a bit clunky.  But I really think kids will get a big kick of the hilarious things that happen to Inge Maria.  She is a character that will stick!

The Terrible Two Get Worse by Jory John and Mac Barnett
4/5 stars
I enjoyed the first Terrible Two but didn't love it.  After seeing the authors together, I did get a new appreciation for it.  Jory John and Mac Barnett feed off of each other, each retort funnier because of what the other had said first.  
Keeping that in mind as I read, you hear their voices as you read the banter between Miles and Niles.  And where the other book was just about out-pranking each other, this one has more heart behind it.  As a result of their pranks, Principal Barkin has found himself out of a job.  In steps his father, Former Principal Barkin.  And with his entry, there are no more pranks because he has found a way to stop them.  Miles and Niles have to work together and allow new ideas to form in order to restore school as they know it.
It's always interesting to read other reviews.  I've seen some that talk about how the pranking gets more serious in this one because they could potentially hurt a person.  My first thought is with all that is happening today, these pranks still seem pretty innocent.  But then I think about how all it takes is one.  Just one person to read it and get the idea.  I don't know... it's an interesting debate.  What do you think?

Stick Dog by Tom Watson
4/5 stars
I'm really excited because we are so fortunate to be welcoming Tom Watson to our school next month.  I'm on a Stick Dog kick and after reading this first book, I can see it won't be hard to book talk these books!  
This is another series that is just perfect to read aloud.  I can't wait to talk to kids about narrators, who is telling the story, how we know, how the narrator adds inner voice.  And all of this while telling a story that's just silly and fun.  It's books like this I love because they are just so easy to sell to kids.

Professional Reading

Notebook Connections: Strategies for the Reader's Notebook by Aimee Bruckner
5/5 stars
Another great book to use to add to your knowledge about Writing About Reading.  I like how Bruckner scaffolds her lessons and adds to students knowledge slowly - giving them new tools and new ideas on how to respond in writing to their reading.  I see how this helps make students more conscientious of their thinking and promotes deeper thinking.  Looking forward to trying many ideas from this book.

Currently Reading

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom
Liking this one a lot.  Good YA.

On Deck

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell
Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka
and then a pile that's never ending... so many books!  Love January for that reason only!

Happy Reading!


  1. I will need to check out Anna, Banana and Stick Dog after reading your reviews. I also did not realize that Aimee Bruckner had a book about reading notebooks. That one will go on my wish list for professional books. I love her other books about writing notebooks. Have a great reading week!

  2. I've noted all these for the future for my growing up/reader granddaughter, Michele. They are all new to me, & I need to know more for the middle grades. I want to read The Wolf Wilder too-maybe soon! Have a great week!

  3. I've seen When Mischief Came to Town mentioned on a few blogs recently, it looks quite sweet and I can't wait to get my hands on it! I enjoy reading books in translation, but sometimes it does feel like some sentences just aren't quite right, or that perhaps the original word means something slightly different than the English translation.

  4. When Mischief Came to Town sounds right up my alley, I love Scandinavianish kids books! I'd never heard of it before but am definitely putting it on my to-read list. I've not heard of Anna, Banana and the Monkey in the Middle either but it looks delightful. I'll seek that one out as well.

  5. Not If I See You First is new to me, I'll need to check it out. Thanks, Michele.

  6. I enjoyed reading The Terrible Two and it's pretty popular in my classroom. So I'm looking forward to The Terrible Two Get Worse. I was approved to read a NetGalley ARC, but I couldn't get my computer to read the Adobe Digital File for it. Anyway, there will always be people who worry about kids getting bad ideas from books (pranks), but I think you need to know the maturity of your readers and discuss books with them. The same could be said for many of the ideas in TV shows, movies, & video games.

  7. I've been reading a lot of adult and teen books, but these fun young chapter books have me thinking I need to get back to some of those.

  8. Anna Banana and the friend ship split was already on my radar, but I didn't know there were so many in the series! If the first one continues to be popular as it looks to be, I'll be Buying more.

  9. I LOVED Not If I See You First. It was one of those books that just got better and better the more that I read! I can't wait to hear what you think of it after you finish!!

  10. I can't wait to read the Anna Banana. I love the series too. And I enjoyed The Terrible Two, so after reading your blurb on the sequel, I'm thinking I'll like the sequel even better. I've got Wolf Rider coming up on my TBR soon.
    Have a great week!

  11. I am pretty excited about reading Terrible Two (on my #mustread), so hopefully more kids will grab it. It looks great!
    I don't know the Anna Banana series, so I'll have to look into that.

    Happy reading this week :)

  12. I've been reading so many great things about Wolf Wilder and really looking forward to getting around to reading it in the coming months. Terrible Two is the kind of book my daughter would have loved to read when she was younger. :)